South Dakota Permits Wind Farm With Lengthy List of Conditions
PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has given its approval to a 71-turbine wind farm in the central part of the state, but in doing so, it has specified 45 conditions that must be met in its development.
The 200 MW North Bend Wind Project will cover approximately 46,931 acres in South Dakota’s Hyde and Hughes counties.
Its backers, ENGIE North America, say they plan to spend up to $285 million for everything from the turbines to access roads, underground collectors lines and a collection substantiation and other facilities.
The project will also have a 230 kV interconnection switching station, an aircraft detection lighting system and a permanent meteorological tower.
The conditions placed on the project related to, among other things, land and road restoration, shadow flicker, noise levels, ice detection and ice throw, post-construction grouse lek monitoring and long-term decommissioning.
“It’s obvious that significant negotiations have taken place between parties to get us to this point. My concern is for landowners; to ensure that reclamation will be done properly and that things will be made whole for landowners once construction is done,” said PUC Chairman Chris Nelson.
“Largely, the conditions parties have stipulated to have worked for other wind farm permits that have been issued by the Public Utilities Commission — it’s my belief that landowners will be protected in the issuing of this permit,” Nelson stated.
Clean energy generated by the wind farm will be sold to Basin Electric Power Cooperative, an electric generation and transmission cooperative based in North Dakota.
The project will be linked to Western Area Power Administration’s Fort Thompson-Oahe 230 kV transmission line, which passes through the project area’s southern portion.
North Bend Wind, LLC, filed its application with the commission on June 23, 2021, starting the clock on a statutory nine-month review period that included a public input meeting held in Pierre in August 2021. In both November 2021 and February 2022, the company filed requests to extend the deadline for a commission decision, thereby extending the PUC’s review period.
North Bend Wind and South Dakota PUC staff filed a settlement stipulation for the project last month.
“Our staff take their role in protecting all landowners and citizens very seriously and I really appreciate the countless hours they work to protect the land and interests of both participants and non-participants alike,” said the commission’s Vice Chair Kristie Fiegen in a written statement.